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Help! Annual review, unhappy with draft amended statement

(18 Posts)
sugaraddict Fri 27-Nov-15 18:19:27

My 14yr old DD with ASD is currently being tutored at home after being unable to cope at 2 secondary schools. LA have been very accommodating about providing this, as CAMHS have clearly stated that they consider school to be detrimental to her mental health at this point.

We got good provision in her statement including private mainstream school, full time TA and weekly direct SALT. By the time of the annual review she was no longer attending school (despite their heroic efforts with her!) and it was agreed that a tutor would be provided for her at home. This has been in place for 2.5 hours a day this term and seems to be going really well.

The problem we have is that this requires a complete overhaul of her statement. This has included the LA getting new SLT and OT reports done, which are frankly inadequate. Despite her obvious severe continuing needs, which both the reports have detailed, no provision has been recommended for OT, and SALT provision has been reduced to 8 hours total per annum (both direct and indirect ). This is despite the report submitted for AR by the independent SLT who had been working with her, recommending maintenance of the weekly provision. This seems fairly obviously driven by resources available rather than need. The LA have said that they can only put the recommendations from their reports on the statement although they are going to talk to the authors.

Do we agree to finalise the statement (noting our disagreement ), appeal and get independent reports? Certainly the education and (lack of) intervention she is getting at the moment is nowhere near the full hours she is entitled to. Her mental health is slightly improved at the moment, largely due to being at home, but at some point in the future she will need to be equipped to go out in the world, and hopefully be able to access education more fully. This is why the SLT and OT are so vital.

I know it's a complex situation, and the LA reckon they're in uncharted territory, but we really need to get it right. Only 4 years until she's an adult!

Sorry for long post but I'm stressed up to the eyeballs (again!). Just wanted to rant and see if any of you wise people had any sage advice for me. Possibly involving alcohol. ..........

GruntledOne Fri 27-Nov-15 19:28:37

They don't need your agreement to finalise the statement, they can do it anyway.

It's not really uncharted territory - there are really quite a lot of children with statements and EHCPs who aren't in school for various reasons.

The LA is wrong in saying they can only put stuff into the statements from the experts they instructed. They have to consider all the evidence available and, if they don't accept any of it, they should explain why in the statement. Certainly on the face of it it is irrational to prefer the evidence of some NHS SALT who has seen your DD once (I assume) over that of the person who has been working with her for some time. I'm afraid the reality is that LA and NHS experts routinely minimise provision and fail to advise on specific and detailed provision because they know that isn't what the LA wants to see. Nevertheless, the LA must know perfectly well that it has a duty to detail provision and it should tell its experts that it needs the requisite advice to enable it to do that.

But if they really dig their heels in I fear you will have no choice but to appeal.

sugaraddict Fri 27-Nov-15 19:40:36

Thanks Grunted. The NHS SALT only spent 40 minutes with DD! Despite 2 hours being scheduled for the appointment. Can feel a fight coming on......

Mrsmoneyworries Fri 27-Nov-15 22:56:14

Am I right in thinking, if Or when It gets to tribunal, all independent reports are accepted? Could you actually say this to the LA and tell them to save time and money?

Mrsmoneyworries Fri 27-Nov-15 22:57:34

Btw, I'm in a very similar position with my DS.

Schrodingersmum Fri 27-Nov-15 23:01:19

Sugar addict, our DD has an EHCP for non school education delivered at home via interhigh and there are at least 20 other LEA's funding students education in a similar way at Interhigh this year

Its unusual but clearly not unheard of and other therapies come within the EHCP for those kids

sugaraddict Sat 28-Nov-15 15:23:29

I hope that independent reports would be accepted at tribunal. They've so clearly reduced the provision when her needs are quite obviously just as severe, they must know that it's inadequate.

Schrodinger, how is your DD getting on with Interhigh? That may be an option for our DD when she's recovered a bit of her self esteem and motivation for learning?

Nigel1 Sun 29-Nov-15 00:19:20

This is a frequent question here and so I have complied a fairly lengthy response which I hope will be helpful.

This issue is addressed within The Special Education Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 SI 1530. These regs control how the Tribunal/LAs manage the EHCP process.

Information and advice to be obtained of EHC Needs Assessments
6.—(1) Where the local authority secures an EHC needs assessment for a child or young person, it must seek the following advice and information, on the needs of the child or young person, and what provision may be required to meet such needs and the outcomes that are intended to be achieved by the child or young person receiving that provision—
(a) advice and information from the child’s parent or the young person;
(b) educational advice and information—
(i) from the head teacher or principal of the school or post-16 or other institution that the child or young person is attending, or
(ii) where this is not available, from a person who the local authority is satisfied has experience of teaching children or young people with special educational needs, or knowledge of the differing provision which may be called for in different cases to meet those needs, or
(iii) if the child or young person is not currently attending a school or post-16 or other institution and advice cannot be obtained under sub-paragraph (ii), from a person responsible for educational provision for the child or young person, and (iv) if any parent of the child or young person is a serving member of Her Majesty’s armed forces, also from the Secretary of State for Defence;
(c) medical advice and information from a health care professional identified by the responsible commissioning body;
(d) psychological advice and information from an educational psychologist;
(e) advice and information in relation to social care;
(f) advice and information from any other person the local authority thinks is appropriate;
(g) where the child or young person is in or beyond year 9, advice and information in relation to provision to assist the child or young person in preparation for adulthood and independent living; and
(h) advice and information from any person the child’s parent or young person reasonably requests that the local authority seek advice from.
(2) Where it appears to the authority, in consequence of medical advice or otherwise, that the child or young person in question is either or both—
(a) hearing impaired;
(b) visually impaired,
and any person from whom advice and information is sought as provided in paragraph (1)(b) is not qualified to teach children or young people who are so impaired, then the advice sought shall be advice given after consultation with a person who is so qualified.
(3) When seeking advice in accordance with paragraph (1)(b) to (h), the local authority must provide the person from whom advice is being sought with copies of—
(a) any representations made by the child’s parent or the young person, and
(b) any evidence submitted by or at the request of the child’s parent or the young person.
(4) The local authority must not seek any of the advice referred to in paragraphs (1)(b) to (h) if such advice has previously been provided for any purpose and the person providing that advice, the local authority and the child’s parent or the young person are satisfied that it is sufficient for
the purposes of an EHC needs assessment.

So s6(a) includes advice from parents or the young person - that can be anything submitted by you including your advices and those of your experts. LAs have an unfortunate habit of not including those advices into the appendices of the EHCP. Make sure they are there.

You should also ensure, by asking the LA/NHS professional that they have seen copies of the relevant reports - s(3). LAs are not very good at giving NHS copies of the independent reports.

Please note that s1 requires that any report to identify the needs of the child and to identify the provision and outcomes. Given that para 9.69 of the CoP required that in Part B all of the chidls SEN must be specified; Part F states that the provision must be detailed and specific and normally quantified.

Part F also states that the LA should identify where they have departed from any advice given to them and give reasons why. In 25 years I have never seen that!

Thus I would argue that as Plans have to be specific detailed and quantified that information has to come from the reports. If it comes from the report then it is based on professional knowledge of the child and his isums. If it is not there, then Part F is likely to be completed by the Panel who give what they want and not necessarily what the child needs. This is where the parental argument can usefully use the independent reports as they should be highly quantified thus you are arguing for one level of provision over another save that you have the evidence and the LA have the Panels views - normally derived from a template. The Panels views are not evidence.

The Tribunal will always consider the independent advice and normally take considerable account of it.

I hope this is helpful.

Mrsmoneyworries Sun 29-Nov-15 09:07:30

Nigel1, brilliant. This is very helpful, I'm sure.

GruntledOne Sun 29-Nov-15 09:14:39

The tribunal won't automatically accept independent reports, but they will consider them and weigh them up against the LA reports and the other evidence - which is a welcome contrast to some LAs which refuse to consider them outright

sugaraddict Sun 29-Nov-15 11:27:48

Thank you so much for that Nigel. Our situation is slightly different in that we are still on the old statement system. This is for the annual review but obviously DD's situation has changed drastically in the meantime. But her needs have not, in fact they could be said to be more severe as she is now unable to access a full time education All our independent reports and some NHS ones were included in the appendices to the original statement. They are noticeably absent from the revised draft which only has the NHS SALT and OT reports attached. The views sought for the annual review, including those of the private SALT who had been working with her throughout the year, do not seem to have been taken into account.

I don't know where this leaves us. Sounds like an EHCP might cater better for her needs? Do we have any right to ask to be transferred to one?

Ģrrrr...why does it have to be so complicated?

sugaraddict Sun 29-Nov-15 11:34:57

Was also wondering if it would be worth booking in full professional reports now? Perhaps SALT, OT and EP. Any recommendations for OT and EP? We're in London

Mrsmoneyworries Sun 29-Nov-15 11:35:10

Really Gruntled, that's interesting. I've always been led to believe they do take them into account. So it's good to know that we're not thinking that will automatically happen.

Sugar, my son's needs have also increased and the LA are taking the opportunity to transfer to EHC so all the info & advice is up to date. Do you think it's worth suggesting at AR?

Schrodingersmum Sun 29-Nov-15 22:23:19

Sugaraddict, Interhigh has been a lifesaver! She adores it and confidence is soaring. Lots of understanding new friends and a school environment that she can cope with, shes gone from broken and suicidal to a bouncy confident teen in 7 months

To anyone in a similar position I would say go for it and dont look back x

Mrsmoneyworries Sun 29-Nov-15 22:56:44

How did you get all that put in place, with Interhigh - I need to start preparing for battle with my la. So it's really useful to see how others have 'won' this place.

Hope you don't mind me asking on your post, sugaraddict blush

Nigel1 Sun 29-Nov-15 23:19:31

The issues for SSENs are the same, the arguments are the same. If you want the law please msg me.

If she can not access education then she falls under "Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs
Statutory guidance for local authorities January 2013"

Page 4 is a helpful point.

GruntledOne Mon 30-Nov-15 10:21:25

Mrsmoneyworries, if you mean that you believed LAs do take independent reports into account, I would just like to clarify that I'm not suggesting that every LA ignores them - just rather a lot of them!

If you mean the tribunal, they will certainly take independent reports into account, but that doesn't mean they will automatically accept everything they say.

Mrsmoneyworries Mon 30-Nov-15 12:16:24

Thanks for that GruntledOne, yes, I meant the tribunals. I guess it's good to be cautious and not presume they accept them.

I've been very if you can call it that lucky, in that my LA accept private assessments/reports/diagnosis.

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